Program Aims to Reduce Tobacco Use Among Pregnant Women
COON RAPIDS, Minn., March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercy & Unity Hospitals will lead a unique new effort to help pregnant women quit smoking.
The Maternal and Child Tobacco Intervention Program (MCTIP) -- a collaboration of the hospitals, area clinics and Anoka County -- aims to provide a continuum of tobacco intervention to help expectant mothers change their tobacco behaviors and reduce the harmful effects tobacco use has on them and their infants.
Studies show that Anoka County not only has one of the highest smoking rates in Minnesota, but its rate of smoking among pregnant women is also much higher. County health officials have identified tobacco use as a top health concern.
"Smoking during pregnancy is considered the most preventable cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality, and a leading contributor to low birth weight, premature and very premature births, and respiratory illness during the first year of life," said Dr. Lex Lawson, Fridley OB/GYN Clinic. "We believe that helping mothers quit can have an immediate and long-lasting impact on the health of both the mother and the child."
How it works
Slated to begin this month, MCTIP is a partnership of Mercy & Unity, Fridley OB/GYN Clinic, Fridley Children's and Teenagers' Medical Center and Anoka County Community Health and Environmental Services Department, explained Craig Malm, executive director of community health improvement for the hospitals. Under the program, health care providers will reach out to mothers and infants at three key times: during the pregnancy; at the time of birth; and, during the first year of the infant's life.
Clinicians at Fridley OB/GYN Clinic will screen and assess women for tobacco use as early in their pregnancy as possible. Women who volunteer to participate in the program will be referred to MCTIP's tobacco intervention specialist. The specialist will develop an individual plan and coordinate tobacco intervention efforts throughout the pregnancy and during the first year of the child's life.
Anoka County's public health nurses, who currently provide services to pregnant women, will join parish nurses to provide an in-home assessment, support to the mother and address such issues as second-hand smoke.
Maternity and nursery staff at Unity Hospital will reinforce the importance of continued tobacco reduction during the mother's hospital stay. Fridley Children's and Teenagers' Medical Center will provide patient education and continued reinforcement of the program, particularly as it relates to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke on infants and children.
"We are looking forward to working with moms in the second phase of the MCTIP program," said Dr. Fadel Sakkal, Fridley Children's and Teenagers' Medical Center. "The program will be a tremendous aid in helping moms stay tobacco free after the birth of their child and promote a smoke-free environment for their children. A smoke-free environment makes an important difference in the child's health and development early in life and for many years to come."
"When public health can combine efforts with the doctors and hospitals, we know that we can make a difference in the health of mothers and children," said Marina McManus, Director of Anoka County's Community Health and Environmental Services Department.
Funding for the program is being provided by a grant from the Minnesota Chapter of the March of Dimes and Mercy & Unity.